Following a year of budget cuts and funding rearrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado's Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program is on track to get those funds back from a major revenue source: pot taxes.
Senate Bill 207 passed the Colorado Legislature on April 19, requiring the transfer of $100 million from the state's Marijuana Tax Cash Fund into the BEST program to restore funding cut last year. The 2020 cuts were made to augment the state's General Fund during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Senator Dominick Moreno, a prime sponsor of the bill and chair of the legislature's Joint Budget Committee. But that money will be coming back next year.
The successful bill is still awaiting Governor Jared Polis's signature, but will require the state treasurer to put that $100 million in marijuana tax revenue back into the BEST program in June 2022. Created in 2014 after recreational pot sales began in Colorado, the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund provides money for state education, health care, youth prevention, law enforcement, health education and substance abuse programs.